242RE: [findingfaith] On finding like minded Xtians: to Stephen Shields
- Feb 9, 2002Jim Barnhill wrote:
...Hence, this major dilemma. Neo's conjecturing with Dan about how one
might take a church into the postmodern era, forgive me, seems like a
pipe dream. Or is it? If we are truly living at the very beginning
of a new postmodern era, then 99.9% of churches would seem to be
still living with modern thinking. So it seems to me that apart from
a website like this, there are not very many places a spiritual
schizophrenic like me can go for nurture. Going to a small group
within an evangelical church feels like going to an intellectual
torture session. All of the thinking I've tried to rework comes
rushing back to the door and it hurts. I don't think I can
adequately defend my own paradigm shift without being so frustrated.
The upshot: it feels pretty lonely to be a postmodern Christian both
because it is hard to define to yourself and others exactly what you
believe, and because there are so few places/churches to go that can
I've gone through this for over 15 years. I'm a patient person.
Reply whenever you get the chance.
I'm glad you're patient, Jim, 'cause it might take a few years for these
kinds of churches to become common! I'm looking forward to what others will
post but let me put a few thoughts out there.
First is that there are a few online communities that are grappling with
these issues. This is one. Another is a group in the process of discussing
McLaren's New Kind of Christian. See
and I moderate a group that discusses these issues @
and I'm quite certain there are others I'm not even aware of.
Second, I believe it's important to realize that postmodernity's main
contribution - and some here may disagree with me - is that it deconstructs
the modernity in Christianity and helps us to open our eyes to something
deeper. But (and I write with broadbrush here!) the core Christian truths,
and - more specifically - *reality* transcends *both* the stifling locked
down, anthropocentric closed system Cartesian epistemology of modernity with
its emphasis on certainty and steps to achievement, etc *and* the forever
tentative, ever inchoate approach of postmodernity. Example: Thousands
and thousands, if not millions, of people who could not begin to define many
of the words I just used or have never heard of the authors you just named -
people who couldn't begin to differentiate modernity and postmodernity -
cause God hugh broad smiles every single day. Find *those* folks! People
who are real to themselves, real to one another, *open* to being taught by
God and others! Your knowledge of postmodernism and modernism will aid you
to *frame* your experience of these people. But that paradigm should never
be confused with the actual, what we on faithmaps like to call the
transpropositional **stuff** of real, exciting, dynamic, excruciating,
challenging, *relationships* with God and with one another! And - if I
might be so bold - it's these relationships that are most important, even
when we struggle to attach specifics words to them.
Love not only covers a multitude of sins, but also a plethora of off-tap
Hope this helps!
"tools for navigating theology,
leadership, discipleship and
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